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Harry Stoller and Co. v. City of Lowell

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
587 N.E.2d 780 (1992)


Stoller (plaintiff) owned multiple adjacent buildings, all containing a sprinkler system. The buildings caught fire, and City of Lowell (defendant) firefighters attempted to extinguish the blaze. Contrary to accepted practice, the firefighters declined to use the buildings’ sprinkler system. The firefighters opted to use only their hoses, and the fire destroyed all of Stoller’s buildings. Stoller brought a negligence claim against the City of Lowell, alleging that the firefighters were negligent in violating the accepted practice of using an available sprinkler system. The jury returned a verdict for Stoller. However, the trial court granted judgment notwithstanding the verdict in favor of the City of Lowell, finding that discretionary function immunity barred Stoller’s claim.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Wilkins, J.)

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